Because ommicron is spreading rapidly, “we need to take earlier, faster, stricter and more concrete measures,” Chinese disease control official Lei Zhenglong told state television on Monday.

China on Friday ruled out easing its much-criticized “dynamic zero-COVID” policy of limiting international travel and minimizing contacts with the outside world as it battles sporadic spikes in new coronavirus cases with prolonged city closures.

China will adhere to its “dynamic zero-COVID” policy to contain the current outbreak, Wang Hesheng, vice minister of the National Health Commission and administrator of the National Disease Control and Prevention Administration, told media. country health officials mobilized to contain spikes of coronavirus cases in a number of cities.

The goal of the zero case policy approach is to bring the epidemic under control in the shortest possible time with minimal cost to society, official media quoted him here as saying.

The essence of the approach is rapid response and targeted prevention and control, he said.
China has committed to taking rigorous and targeted COVID-19 prevention and control measures to contain the latest wave of infections caused by the Omicron variant, Wang said.

His comments came as President Xi Jinping on Thursday called for swift containment measures to stop the outbreak from spreading.
“The ‘dynamic zero’ policy does have some impact on life and work,” Wang admitted. “But given people’s safety and health, the sacrifices will be worth it.” Under this policy, China has drastically reduced international travel, affecting several lakhs of international students, including more than 23,000 Indian students, who are mainly studying medicine and are stuck in India following the cancellation of visas and flights.

Significantly, China has experienced its biggest spike in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, just as the rest of the world began a drastic drop in cases.

Wang defended the two-year policy, saying it is effective as China has a “very low” number of infections, critical cases and deaths.
Also, China acted quickly to contain virus outbreaks when they occurred within one to two incubation periods, which is quite fast, he said.
The vast majority of Chinese normally live at the expense of inconvenience in very few areas, he said, downplaying the economic costs.

“It is not objective to count only the areas where COVID-19 is spreading. We have to look at the big picture,” he said. People should not blame all economic losses on COVID-19 control measures. “We need to determine what part of the losses was caused by COVID-19 and what part was due to economic development itself,” he said.

Wang also said that China will pay more attention to details in its COVID-19 control, respond more quickly and vigorously to minimize the economic impact.
His comments came as China battles the largest wave of locally transmitted COVID-19 cases since it contained the first outbreak in Wuhan in 2020.
Mainland China reported 4,292 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, including 2,388 locally transmitted and 1,904 asymptomatic cases, the National Health Commission said Friday.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 patients currently undergoing treatment was 16,974, it said.
Since the coronavirus first emerged in the city of Wuhan, China has so far reported 4,636 deaths from the virus.

This post China weighs exit from “zero COVID” and associated risks

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